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Reprocessing of a French Guyana operation’s tailings using flotation for gold concentration

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 55-59

Durance, M.-V.; Botane, P.G.; Cailleau, A.E.C.


 Compagnie Minière Espérance mines a primary gold orebody in an openpit. The ore is processed through crushing, primary gravity concentration, grinding and secondary gravity separation, generating tailings with remaining fine gold. Analysis of the material in the pond has indicated a residual gold grade sufficient to justify a chemical treatment process to recover the gold. However, direct cyanidation would require a prohibitively large installation for the site, which is located in a remote rainforest environment. It was decided to test the feasibility of preconcentration using flotation. As lab tests proved up the technical feasibility of the flotation process, an on-site pilot operation was carried out to assess the continuous circuit performances, define the best configuration and obtain enough data for industrial circuit sizing. Data collected during the pilot campaign was used for calibrating a process simulator built with the USIM PAC software. The simulator validated the feasibility of upgrading the existing plant, including the reprocessing of tailings to obtain an acceptable fine gold recovery from a small amount of concentrate.